Wrinkle Anatomy - Gistyou


Sunday, 5 August 2018

Wrinkle Anatomy

Wrinkles are commonly referred to as signs of wisdom and experience. This may sound respectable but most people would rather do without them. Skin ages all over the body but is more pronounced in sun exposed areas like the face, neck, forearms and back of the hands. Sun damage or Photoaging leads to skin dryness, roughness, sagginess, wrinkles and skin growths popularly referred to as liver spots. Other factors that promote wrinkling include smoking, heredity, low oestrogen hormone levels and skin type (people with light coloured skin are more prone to sun damage). Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun injure the epidermis and dermis, weakening their supporting structures and with age, the epidermis and the connective tissue weaken.
There are two categories of wrinkles; fine surface lines and deeply set furrows. They differ in structure and origin and respond to different types of therapy. Fine surface wrinkles are as a result of the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres due to aging and sun damage. Deeply set furrows are caused by the build up of muscles beneath the skins surface over time as a result of repeated facial expressions in pretty much the same way muscle is built through exercise. These deep furrows can show permanently or come about when facial expressions are made like “crows feet” showing up when a person smiles. These categories of wrinkles respond to different therapies.

It’s not uncommon to find skin blotchiness, dullness and discolouration associated with aging, sun damaged skin. The skin rejuvenation process should be aimed at tackling all these problems in addition to dealing with wrinkles. Preventative and restorative measures should be taken in the fight against wrinkles. Preventative measures sun exposure, smoking breaks down collagen and elastin, accelerating the rate at which the skin sags and wrinkles.
Skin Anatomy
The skin is made up of three layers. The epidermis is the outer protective layer made up of rows of cells that are stacked like bricks in a wall. The basement layer of the epidermis contains the pigment producing cells known as melanocytes that determine skin colour. The dermis, the middle layer, consists of connective tissue, capillaries, nerves, hair bulbs, oil and sweat glands, and collagen producing cells called fibroblasts. Supporting collagen and elastin fibres weave through the dermis giving the skin firmness and flexibility. The subcutaneous layer lies beneath the dermis and is composed of fat and connective tissue. The muscle lies beneath this layer. With the aging process, the epidermis thickens and becomes drier leading to a dull lifeless appearance. The breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres in the dermis causes the skin to sag.

This also leads to an increase in its fragility. In addition, the collagen producing fibroblasts are less active. Sun damage may stimulate an increased production of capillaries which show up as spider veins.

Treatment Options
There are several medical and cosmetic techniques available. To restore lustre and improve the texture of the skin, the thickened epidermis needs to be thinned and its moisture restored. This can be achieved by using exfoliating products containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid and Vitamin A preparations such as Retin-A and Retinol. Exfoliation may also be achieved by using products containing beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), poly hydroxy acids (PHAs), and lactic acid (LA). Chemical peels, microdermabrasion and the newer, Citric acid peels are also effective. A suitable moisturiser is also required. For deep set wrinkles and scars, Dermabrasion (deep replaning with a wire brush or sanding wheel) is an option. It differs from microdermabrasion by going beyond the epidermis. This is not recommended for dark skin because of the risk of permanent scarring and pigment change.

There are prescription chemical peels such as the Vipeel and the ZO Medical 3 Step Peel are my favourites and are safe to use on all skin types.

Tropical treatments aimed at improving the dermis are available to boost collagen production and these include copper peptide and Vitamin C containing preparations. If you use both, apply at different times of the day or different areas as Vitamin C may neutralise copper. Vitamin A containing products in addition to exfoliating the epidermis boost collagen production in the dermis.


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